Track and field lost one of its good guys yesterday, as Olympian David Torrence passed away unexpectedly at the age of 31. A dual citizen who represented Peru in international competition, “DT” was an exciting racer, honest personality and outspoken advocate for clean athletes. He was exactly what the sport needed more of, and now it’s left with a hole that will be hard to fill.
The full details of Torrence’s death remain under investigation but his body was found at the bottom of a swimming pool. His final workout on Sunday morning was ominously titled “quarters of death.” I’m not going to read into any of that or comment further at this point, but it’s worth noting and I’d by lying if I said these surrounding circumstances didn’t send chills down my spine. It’s all just very strange.
Torrence was not only a huge talent and tenacious competitor; he was also an incredibly generous soul with a unique and interesting story. I only had the opportunity to interview him once (after the Carlsbad 5000 in 2013) and despite the fact he didn’t have his best race that day, Torrence took the time to thoughtfully answer my questions before taking off on his cooldown.
And although it was his middle-distance exploits—which included multiple U.S. road mile titles and an American record at 1,000m—that garnered him the most recognition, I’ve long felt Torrence’s best racing days were ahead of him in the 5,000m. He had incredible range and the necessary speed to close hard with the best in the world. Sadly, we’ll never see that potential reach its full realization.
The running world weeps today for DT, his family and the countless lives he touched and inspired along the way. He always ran hard—now we hope that he can rest easy.
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